Most land does not belong to those who toil on it.
According to National Sample Survey Organisation (NSSO) data, 60% of the country’s population has right over only 5% of land; whereas 10% of the population has control over 55% of the land.
The 2011 Socio Economic and Caste Census shows that 56% of households in rural India do not own any agricultural land. The NSSO 2013 revealed that top 7.18% of households own more than 46.71% of the land.
By the end of 2019, at least 690 million people went hungry. Now millions more of people continue to suffer acute food insecurity as they face the consequences of the pandemic. Lockdown policies and quarantines have affected all stages of food supply, resulting in a steep rise in food prices and widespread food insecurity.
As of October 2020, a staggering seven million people have died of hunger. Pandemic-related hunger also led to the deaths of 10,000 more children each month over the first year of the health crisis.
Landlessness has been exacerbated by large-scale land deals and acquisitions – land grabs led by corporations have dispossessed and displaced farmers from the land they till. Millions of hectares of land planted with staples, grains, and other food crops, as well as indigenous lands, and public lands were land grabbed and converted into plantations, extractive mining projects, and farms devoted to export cash crops.
Governments have become willing accomplices in these land grabs through public-private partnerships that take away land, water, and other natural resources from the people. Profits keep pouring into the pockets of the few as the majority of peasants and their families endure worsening landlessness and land grabs amid a pandemic.